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Hillsong Church Founder Navigates Life, Love, and Leadership

Author and Hillsong co-founder Bobbie Houston discusses God's call and anointing on woman and insights from her journey. Read Transcript

When Bobby Houston and her husband Brian

started the Hills Christian Life Center,

70 people were in their first service.

Well, since then, the church has changed its name to Hillsong,

and its reach has gone from a few dozen to a few million.

But Bobby's quick to point out that there

have been plenty of bumps and bruises along the way.


are the pastors of Hillsong church in Sydney, Australia.

They're known for their massive conferences and lively music

with more than 50 million people singing their songs every week.

Their 40 year journey hasn't been without challenges.

But today Bobby has blossomed in her role

as the founder of Hillsong's Color Conferences for Women.

In her book Stay the Path, Bobby shares some of the mile markers

that have shaped her life.

It helps us navigate the bends and curves

we'll face in our own lives.

Bobbie Houston is here with us now.

And we welcome you to the program.

Thank you so much.

We've be singing your songs for years over here.

Ah, I love that.

I'm really honored to be here.

Thank you so much, Terry.

It's great to have you with us.

Well, your book Stay the Path opens in 1997 with what

you call a milestone moment.

Talk about that.

Milestone Milestone moment as when I went out and this crazy,

fabulous woman spoke of my life?


Yeah, it did actually.

I mean, I came to Christ when I was 15, always loved

the Lord Jesus Christ, would come from New Zealand

to Sydney.

So we were in the pioneering part of all of that.

It's true, I went out to a women's retreat.

And I arrived a little bit late for a number of reasons.

And there was this American lady there,

who was a profit actually.

And she just had this profound word over me

that really articulated so much of, I guess,

what was in our hearts and what we

were about at that point in the journey.

And yeah, I chose to open up with those words because it

talked about paving the way and pioneering and, I guess,

laboring and sowing and everything that

goes into the ministry.

And I thought that was a good place to start.

Well, the road gets rough.

And I think sometimes, just like in the story of Joseph,

God gives us a dream or a vision or a word from someone that

holds us, that helps us stay the path during the difficult time.

You go on, and a few years later share that your husband called

you one day surprisingly-- not something

you were expected to say.

Not I'd love to have lunch with you,

but I need to have much with you.

What happened that day that impacted your life?

Yeah, that was quite a-- that was a extremely impacting day.

And it has proven to be a day that has--

that wasn't just one day.

It rolled into a number of years, the fall out of that.

But Brian speaks quite openly and honestly.

And it was basically he needed to tell me as his wife

about an accusation that had come in against his father.

And again, he speaks very much about this himself

but an accusation that is pretty horrific.

And it later turned out to be true.

And then of course we had to deal

with the fallout of that and the repercussion of that

and what have you.

And I just remember at the time just--

I had actually just taught at our Sisterhood.

I taught a message hilariously called

"Kingdom Women, Make Mincemeat of Your Enemies,"

which was hysterical.


But it was basically--

I was talking about the Proverbs 31 woman, how she rises

in the midst of adversity.

Sometimes that is adversity, that is a dark season.

And then I married it with the Psalm 23,

where God lays a table before us in the presence of our enemies

when challenges come.

So I just taught this crazy message

being pastorally careful and mindful

about our girls and our church.

And then I sat there listening to

this horrific, daunting news.

And I just remember thinking in my head,

oh, gosh I need to go and listen to my message,

again because literally--

So you were preaching to yourself

without even realizing it.

I think I was.

And I think, as we have gone on, I've

realized that some of the things that I spoke

in that message about what the enemy means against us God

is able to turn around and use it as a weapon against--

It's part of your inheritance as his daughter.

It is, Terry.

So that was a huge part of our landscape for many years

and I learned many lessons along the way because of that.

Well, I think when you're in leadership,

those things are use to carve compassion and mercy

and grace in your heart for the people that you're leading.

You have said God's given you tremendous favor as Hillsong

Church, but you've also paid an enormous price for it.

It must be very difficult to have things

like this, like so many people experience,

going on in your life.

You're in a leadership position.

Just using wisdom in how you navigate the landscape of that

is huge.

How would you handled that?

BOBBIE HOUSTON: Well, I think I'm

very blessed to be married to quite a remarkable man, who


he is an incredible leader.

And in those times when our church has faced the fire

or faced the furnace or faced those challenges,

he's always led our church with incredible integrity

and wisdom.

And I think I have learnt so much been under his wing

and alongside.

And the truth is everyone faces challenges of some description

because I personally believe God wants

to outwork his truth within us.

So we learn that we all arrive at the same conclusion,

that God is a good God, He's faithful, He's trustworthy,

He will vindicate when vindication needs to happen.

And so I think we all discover that in different ways.

And of course, by reason of our calling, our profile,

who we are, I guess, on that global landscape

of the body of Christ, our trial has come at a different level,

and it's looked different to what the average person might


And so we have-- we've had to wear

our hats in a public arena.

We've had to navigate really in this case what we were chatting

about, a horrific situation.

We've had to deal with that on a very public forum.

Do you think it's made you more approachable to people?

I hope so.

I think in the context of Australia,

churches wider than Australia-- but in Australia

the average Australian has actually watched.

They've watched all these years.

They've watched the highs and lows of this.

And what they see at the end of the day is hopefully a fruit.

And I don't know how many of us--

beautiful Australians who are not in church or whatever.

But they're like, oh, you guys.

You guys are awesome.

We know what you do in the community.

We actually know that you're genuine.

So I mean, that's what Jesus said, didn't he?

TERRY MEEUWSEN: --what you heard to say.

BOBBIE HOUSTON: Well, I hope so.

I hope so.

Well, your book is really such an encouragement

to believers I think to trust God, number one,

and then to stay the course.

And there are so many times in scripture where

I think God says to us things like,

and having done all, stand.

What's your message to people in the book?

What do you want to takeaway from your book to be?

Oh, I think bottom line it's wrapped up in the title,

like stay the path.

And I think that the main response to that question

would be for people to understand that there is a path

and that there is a journey and that we are on a pilgrimage.

And it's a critical destination.

And it can't be missed where that can't be compromised.

It can't be sabotaged or allowed to be forfeited or whatever

because it's too critical.

We're heading high.

And life is very--

my husband always says life is long and life is short,

and there's truth in that.

But one day we're actually going to-- it's all going to be over,

and we're going to stand before our creator.

And so as a woman, as a mom, as a pastor,

as a grandmother these days, I think

it's just inherent that people understand this because if you

have no conviction that there's a destination,

then why would you stay the path?

And young people today-- and we have this world surrounding us

who are actually quite lost.

They're lost in their sense of personhood, their identity.

They just live for this transient moment,

and it's going to be wasteful.

Your book is a map.

I want to suggest that you get the book.

It's called Stay the Path, navigating the challenges

and the wonder of life, love, and leadership

available wherever books are sold.

The author is Bobbie Houston.

You've been singing songs from their church for years.

Great to have you with us today.

Thanks for having me, Terry.


Thank you so much.



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